THE Wee County is still in "full-scale response mode" when it comes to coronavirus, council chiefs made clear last week amid a rising number of cases.

Council leader Councillor Ellen Forson sought to dismiss a "bit of a perception that we are back to business as usual" at a full virtual meeting of Clackmannanshire Council last Thursday, September 10.

She asked chief executive Nikki Bridle to give an indication of how much resources are still being focused on pandemic response and recovery work.

The chief executive said: "We are finding ourselves in quite a challenging position just now because we are actually still in full-scale response mode.

"There is still a significant portion of officers, I would say, fully engaged in response activity.

"The reality is: what we have is a core number of staff who are trying to balance those ongoing response activities, which perhaps in a larger council might be a full-time responsibility, alongside critical work to take forward transformation, budget preparations."

The chief executive made clear there would be no return "back to normal" for some time.

She added: "What we are really looking at is a very changed reality for all of us.

"That [is] in terms of how services are delivered, but also in terms of how staff, elected members, communities experience their engagement with the council."

The meeting was held just a day after NHS Forth Valley confirmed an individual at Banchory PS tested positive for the virus, triggering contact tracing activity at the Tullibody school.

The council leader was asking the chief executive as elected members received an update on the local authority's Be the Future programme, designed to transform the way services are delivered.

Cllr Dave Clark, leader of the Labour Group, said: "Let me endorse what Miss Bridle and Cllr Forson were saying so that the public hear it from every quarter of the council.

"We are not out of the wood by any manner of means, in fact, we are back in the wood a little in our area just now.

"I would urge everybody to behave with caution at this time."

Issuing a message to Clacks residents, he added: "You need to, at this time – probably even more than at the end of June, stay safe."

The broad-ranging paper on the Be the Future programme, a 10-year initiative focusing on sustainable inclusive growth and much more, also highlighted how staff will remain working from home where possible.

Council papers added: "At the UK level, we are already seeing localised surges in infection rates which are requiring the reintroduction of measures to protect communities.

"This pattern is anticipated for some time to come.

"This means that there is likely to be an ongoing cycle of stepping public services up and down depending on localised infection rates and the findings of the Test and Protect tracing activity."